Lake Tomah bustled with life Saturday as the Tomah-Warrens Sportsman’s Alliance held its third annual Fisheree.
Matt Rezin, a member of TWSA, estimated there were 1,000 people in attendance, which is about average as they’ve “only done it for three years.”
Dan Duneman, emcee for the event, said attendance has grown since the fisheree began in 2015. The weather has played a part.
“The first year was bitterly cold − it was below zero the whole day but still a good crowd,” Duneman said. “Last year you couldn’t have asked for a better day, it was like 45 degrees, and it was kind of overcast, so none of the snow melted. People were out like crazy. They caught some really nice fish — big northern, big bass, everything. This year there are a lot of people ... but the fishing is a little bit slower.”
Weather is the reason for the slower fishing, Duneman said.
“It’s not because the fish aren’t there, it’s just the fish have been really finicky,” he said. “I fish this lake (a lot). I have a permanent shack, and the beginning of the year was really good, then when we got that rain about three weeks ago that brought all that water in, and it kind of slowed down.”
Attendee Roger Belcher said fishing Saturday was the slowest it has been all year, but he still had fun.
“It’s a good family event to get friends and family together and have a good time, drink some beer and catch some fish — except for today,” he said. “It’s a good event they’ve got going on. I like it.”
Unlike Belcher, Thomas Nelson and his nephew Dylan Nelson were having a great fishing day. Dylan caught about 10 fish by 1 p.m., and five of them were on the leader board for the under-12 age category.
Thomas Nelson, said this is their third time attending the fisheree.
“We usually come out here every year ... and (Dylan) seems to be putting all the fish on the board,” he said. “He’s slaying them, doing better than me. I haven’t caught one fish yet.”
Dylan Nelson said he likes coming to the event because it’s “having fun and catching fish.”
Waxies were working best for catching panfish, Thomas Nelson said. As for game fish, they hadn’t caught any northern pike or bass by 1 p.m.
It’s an awesome event, Duneman said. The fisheree serves as a fundraiser for TWSA, and the money promotes other sports and youth activities that the TWSA supports, he said.
“It brings people to town, it brings in tourism, everything,” he said. “What’s not to like about it?”
It’s good for all involved, Rezin said.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s a good thing for the community, and it’s good for the Lake Committee to find out what’s going on for what they’ve been doing for stocking fish and trying to grow the lake.”
Rezin enjoys seeing the people come out and have fun.
“They’re starting traditions for families to come out fishing,” he said. “It’s just nice to see people being able to use the lake again like they used to before the dam washed out.”